What does commitment mean to you?

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Commitment is an interesting word for me: it can describe strength or weakness; it can describe success or failure; it can describe resolve or the lack thereof. Think about it, they showed deep commitment or they lacked any commitment at all.

It seems to me, as I think about it, that what commitment describes in our lives is determined by what we put into it. The big question for me is what does commitment describe in my life? Often when I contemplate commitment in the world around us my mind is drawn to a quote from a movie some years ago, one of the characters stated, “He’s committed. To what? I have no idea.” This thought makes me wonder. As those around me consider what commitment describes in my life, do I give others any idea of what I am committed to?

I learned a valuable lesson about commitment, and the volumes it can speak about who we are and what matters in our lives, from two young men from a village 12 hours north of Accra, Ghana.

I had traveled to Ghana to teach; little did I suspect that the biggest lesson was for me. It was a hot summer morning in Borae village, the classroom simply chairs in a circle under a gigantic tree. As the time approached for the first session to begin, the organizer came to me and asked if it was possible to wait to start as we were waiting for two more young men to arrive.

“Of course we can wait,”  I responded, “if everyone else is ok with delaying for a while.” The twenty others said that they were in agreement. While we waited, I asked the organizer what was the reason for the delay. He gave a simple explanation that still moves me deeply to this day.

The two young men that we were waiting for were walking from a village a day and a half away and it had rained on them for most of the afternoon and put them behind schedule.

I sat down and waited, filled with wonder. I wondered had I … was I … filled with such a commitment to learning that I would walk a day and a half for the opportunity? In all honesty, sometimes during my undergraduate and graduate school  years I often found it difficult to be committed to walking across campus for the opportunity.

Another thought that flooded my mind: these young men were coming to learn how to serve others. The material that I would be covering wasn’t going to get them a better job, or higher pay. It was simply about learning how to see the needs around us and finding ways to meet them. I was reminded that day that the greatest commitment in our lives should be how to be the best that we can in loving others, regardless of the cost.

What does our commitment say to those around us? Does it describe strength or weakness? Does it describe success or failure? Does it describe resolve, or the lack thereof, especially when it comes to that which matters most? I often say, when it comes to the end of our journey on this earth that the thing that will matter most is our commitment to loving people and loving God. I can only hope that my commitment says that I was willing to walk as far as necessary to love.

[George Dillard is the pastor of Peachtree City Christian Church (ptc3.com).]